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Noem Revokes Community Health Worker Contract over Transgender “Ideology”; Sanford Next on State Chopping Block?

Back in early September, the South Dakota Department of Health signed a contract (#23SC090939) with the Transformation Project that directed $136,000 in federal money to the transgender-supporting group to develop a certified community health worker program. CHWs don’t provide health care directly; they help their clients find health care providers and make and get to appointments. CHWs also educate their clients about healthy practices. Starting January 1, South Dakota Medicaid will reimburse organizations for services provided by certified CHWs.

But that means government money would be going to help transgender people do their thing, and when word got to Kristi Noem of that prospect, the Governor canceled the contract.

Actually, in Friday’s contract-cancellation letter, Deputy Health Secretary Lynne Valenti tells TP director Susan Williams that TP failed to perform its contractual obligations:

Deputy Secretary Lynne Valenti, SDDOH, letter to Susan Williams Bill, Transformation Project, 2022.12.16, p. 1.
Deputy Secretary Lynne Valenti, SDDOH, letter to Susan Williams, Transformation Project, 2022.12.16, p. 1.
Deputy Secretary Lynne Valenti, SDDOH, letter to Susan Williams Bill, Transformation Project, 2022.12.16, p. 2.
Deputy Secretary Lynne Valenti, SDDOH, letter to Susan Williams, Transformation Project, 2022.12.16, p. 2.

Given that the contract was signed barely one quarter ago, it seems a bit extreme to nuke the contract because the contractor has failed to submit two quarterly reports, one of which was due the day before DOH canceled the contract. It also seems odd that the state would invoke the contractual obligation to participate in the annual CHWSD conference when the first annual conference was held five months before DOH and TP signed the contract and the 2023 annual conference isn’t happening until May.

But what’s really happening is more ideological bullying against a vulnerable population to win treats from the national conservative media:

“Gov. Kristi Noem is reviewing all Department of Health contracts and immediately terminated a contract with The Transformation Project,” Ian Fury, Noem’s chief of communications, told The Daily Signal on Friday. “The contract was signed without Gov. Noem’s prior knowledge or approval.”

Fury sent The Daily Signal a copy of the document dissolving the state contract.

“South Dakota does not support this organization’s efforts, and state government should not be participating in them,” Noem told The Daily Signal in a statement provided by Fury. “We should not be dividing our youth with radical ideologies. We should treat every single individual equally as a human being.”

…Noem terminated the contract after The Daily Signal reached out with questions about a “Gender Identity Summit” that the state’s largest employer, Sanford Health, will host next month with The Transformation Project [Tyler O’Neil, “Kristi Noem’s Health Department Fires Transgender Group Ahead of ‘Gender Summit’,” The Daily Signal, 2022.12.16].

Sanford Health and the Transformation Project are collaborating to offer sessions at January 13 event on the following topics:

  • Transgender Cultural Competency
  • Learning to Address Implicit Bias Towards LGBTQ+ & 2S Patients
  • Lessons from Transgender Patients
  • How My Journey as a Transgender Provider Has Impacted Patient Care
  • Sanford’s DE&I Patient Experience Journey
  • Creating a Gender Inclusive Practice: Improving the Patient/Provider Relationship with Practical Application
  • Providing Gender Affirming Care
  • Supporting Your Two-Spirit & Native LGBTQ+ Patients and Coworkers
  • Caring for the Aging Transgender Population
  • Gender Affirming Care and The Attitude of Affirmation in Assessment
  • Steps Toward Ending Queer Youth Suicide
  • World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care for the Health of Transgender and Gender Diverse People, Version 8 (SOC8)

These topics are not “radical ideology”; they are current issues affecting health care. Participants can receive continuing medical education credit and social work contact hours.

But if the Governor is going to start canceling contracts with organizations promoting health care education, then holy cow, wait until the Ian shows Kristi all of the state’s contracts with Sanford Health. The state has three $78K contracts with Sanford (#22SC090790, #22SC090794, and #22SC090791) to develop CHW programs in Clear Lake, Sioux Falls, and Vermillion. The state also writes millions of dollars of checks to Sanford for Medicaid and other services, and some of that money must be helping transgender people, homosexuals, Communists, and other radicals Noem deems unworthy of sharing in South Dakota’s Freedom™. If one itsy-bitsy federal grant to one itsy-bitsy non-profit poses some ideological threat, then millions of dollars to an ever-expanding health care giant must put the South Dakota way of life in mortal peril. Be consistent, Governor Noem: cut Sanford out of Medicaid and cancel those Sanford contracts!


  1. Justin Van Ormer 2022-12-19 06:54

    The irony is her last line, “We should treat every single individual equally as a human being.”, I guess that doesn’t include transgender people.

  2. P. Aitch 2022-12-19 08:31

    “She’s a mean one, Governor Grinch!”

  3. Jake 2022-12-19 08:58

    P.Aitch; mmmm, good one!!!!

  4. Mark Anderson 2022-12-19 15:49

    Ian Fury has gender inequalities with his/her marble sized balls and a slim jim dick.

  5. Mark Anderson 2022-12-19 19:49

    You could ask Joan about this, but she’s retired.

  6. OldSarg 2023-01-08 07:39

    Who would want to do this to children and who even proposed providing this contract?

  7. leslie 2023-01-08 13:16


    Joan Adams, who had “served at the South Dakota Department of Health for a combined 20 years, including as Division Director for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Division Director for Administration, and Secretary of Health.”

    Beth Dokken signed the contract for the state September 2022 according to the link DFP provided you.

    What have you done since 2001?

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